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Tree Physiol. 2006 Apr;26(4):421-30.

Temperature regulation of bud-burst phenology within and among years in a young Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) plantation in western Washington, USA.

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Department of Forest Resources, Oregon State University, 280 Peavy Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.


Past research has established that terminal buds of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings from many seed sources have a chilling requirement of about 1200 h at 0-5 degrees C; once chilled, temperatures > 5 degrees C force bud burst via accumulation of heat units. We tested this sequential bud-burst model in the field to determine whether terminal buds of trees in cooler microsites, which receive less heat forcing, develop more slowly than those in warmer microsites. For three years we monitored terminal bud development in young saplings as well as soil and air temperatures on large, replicated plots in a harvest unit; plots differed in microclimate based on amount of harvest residue and shade from neighboring stands. In two of three years, trees on cooler microsites broke bud 2 to 4 days earlier than those on warmer microsites, despite receiving less heat forcing from March to May each year. A simple sequential model did not predict cooler sites having earlier bud burst nor did it correctly predict the order of bud burst across the three years. We modified the basic heat-forcing model to initialize, or reset to zero, the accumulation of heat units whenever significant freezing temperature events (> or = 3 degree-hours day(-1) < 0 degrees C) occurred; this modified model correctly predicted the sequence of bud burst across years. Soil temperature alone or in combination with air temperature did not improve our predictions of bud burst. Past models of bud burst have relied heavily on data from controlled experiments with simple temperature patterns; analysis of more variable temperature patterns from our 3-year field trial, however, indicated that simple models of bud burst are inaccurate. More complex models that incorporate chilling hours, heat forcing, photoperiod and the occurrence of freeze events in the spring may be needed to predict effects of future silvicultural treatments as well to interpret the implications of climate-change scenarios. Developing and testing new models will require data from both field and controlled-environment experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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